Insurance limitations

Last Aug. while at anchor at our Benjamin Islands in the North Channel we experienced one heck of a storm. It blew 65 kts + through the anchorage. Fortunately, we all, that monitored the VHF had time to prepare and we held our own on our 65 lb. CQR and all 3/8 chain.

During the height of this Biblical thing, several boats got loose, and in the process picked up the rodes of other boats. So, we had a number of these guys just drifting around. I fended off 2 Albergs ( one of them twice ); however another boat, a Catalina 38 named Voila of WI registry, got me !. I just could not get my hands on him to hold him off us. His anchor roller made a long deep gouge on the starboard bow of our boat just barely missing the forward window. I met this person again a few days later, turns out he only had a 10 kg Bruce anchor with virtually no chain on the nylon rode.

Long and short of it Lester, I may have to eat this thing. Although the guy does NOT dispute the incident, he refuses to pay for ANY of the damage ( 3500.00 ), his insurance. Co. says that because it was a storm, they do not deem him to be negligent and are not compelled to cover any damages either. As of now, since the legal opinion here is that a sailor is just as negligent in bad as in fair weather, I have filed in the Small Claims Court in that jurisdiction and we will see what happens.

The purpose of all this is as point of info to others, that the Boat Insurance Industry is very convoluted, one enters the land of denial, procrastination and obfuscation, also, if you get your own insurance. Co. involved in any way, even to seek assistance, ” it’s a claim against you. ” IT IS TOTALLY UN-LIKE the auto Insce., where there is No Fault. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN Opinion: If that happens to you, don’t leave the scene, settle it on the spot, you are on your own, insurance. wise, as I don’t think that there is any honour among sailors / boaters.
I am of the opinion now !! that a boat insurance is only for LIABILITY and in event of TOTAL LOSS, the collision part of it seems worthless as you ( to make it affordable ) have to carry Hi Deductible and in any event, after 1 or 2 claims, you are no longer deemed insurable. EVERYONE that I have spoken to about my issue, was NOT aware of the ” you are on your own ” position, as all thought that it would be similar or identical to auto insurance.

Post it if you like, as everyone should re visit their boat insurance. policy, especially the small print, exclusions, more exclusions, etc. etc……….. rest assured that if one does read it all, one wonders what exactly are you covered for ???….. Back to LIABILITY and TOTAL Loss, and if anything that I have learned …… watch out for the other guy !! Best regards, Frank Bryant, s/v #186, Visitant ( 186 )

a. Frank– This is an blatant case, my opinion, of someone denying responsibility (the dragging boat and the insurance company). I am not sure where this incident happened, but if it occurred on the ocean or related navigable waters, you probably have an issue under admiralty law. A small claims court could well find in your favor, but just try to collect. I would suggest that you contact an admiralty attorney who can offer counsel and might very well get your claim paid, including all related costs (attorneys, etc.). Doug Archibald (S/V #158, CHAOS !!)

b. Apart from pressuring your own insurance company (the policies may differ), I would file a lien against the title of the offending boat for the cost of repair. This should induce some action if the owner has any thought of resale. If there is no action, then I would move to force a sale to satisfy the lien. While this may not work in some jurisdictions, it is worth the effort if the amount in question is sizeable. Ronald Jacks (s/v Yankee)

Category: FINANCE and MONEY